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Title III--Language Instruction For Limited English Proficient And Immigrant Students
Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students (III)

Purpose

The Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students program assists school districts in teaching English to limited English proficient students and in helping these students meet the same challenging state standards required of all students. The number of limited English proficient children attending American schools has grown dramatically, primarily because of immigration, with state education agencies reporting that limited English enrollment rose from 2.1 million in the 1990-1991 academic year to more than 3.7 million in 1999-2000. Although their numbers are increasing, their educational attainment remains low. A congressionally mandated study found that these students receive lower grades, are judged by their teachers to have lower academic abilities, and score below their classmates on standardized tests of reading and math.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Focuses on What Works

  • Requires that teachers be certified as English language proficient. School districts are to certify that all teachers in a language instruction education program for limited English proficient students are fluent in English and any other language used by the program, including written and oral communication skills.
  • Requires that curricula be demonstrated to be effective. Language instruction curricula used to teach limited English proficient children are to be tied to scientifically based research and demonstrated to be effective.

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Provides discretion over instruction methods. Local entities have the flexibility to choose the method of instruction to teach limited-English proficient children.
  • Targets funds to the classroom. Ninety-five percent of funds must be used for grants at the local level to teach limited English proficient children.

Increases Accountability for Student Performance

  • Establishes annual achievement objectives for limited English proficient students. States must establish standards and benchmarks for raising the level of English proficiency and meeting challenging state academic standards for limited English proficient students that are aligned with state standards.
  • Sets English language proficiency as the objective. Annual achievement objectives for limited English proficient students must relate to gains in English proficiency and meet challenging state academic standards that are aligned with Title I achievement standards.
  • Requires reading and language arts assessments of children in English. Title I requirements to annually assess children, including limited English proficient students, in English for any student who has attended school in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) for three or more consecutive years apply to grantees funded under Title III.
  • Enforces accountability requirements. States must hold subgrantees accountable for making adequate yearly progress as described in Title I and for meeting all annual achievement objectives.

Empowers Parents

  • Notifies parents about program placement. Parents must be notified by the local education agency concerning why their child needs a specialized language instruction program. Parents have the right to choose among instructional programs if more than one type of program is offered and have the right to remove their child from a program for limited English proficient children.

How It Works

If the appropriation exceeds $650 million, the U.S. Department of Education determines formula allocations based on the state's share of limited English proficient students and recent immigrant students. State education agencies (SEAs) receiving a grant must agree to spend at least 95 percent of their allotment to award formula subgrants to districts. SEAs must reserve up to 15 percent for school districts that have experienced significant increases in the number or percentage of immigrant students, especially those districts with significant increases that have limited or no experience in serving immigrant students. If a state does not apply, the secretary of education makes competitive awards directly to "specially qualified agencies" (school districts). If the appropriation is less than $650 million, three discretionary grant programs for instructional services, four support services programs, a professional development program, and immigrant education formula grants--similar to the programs in the previous law--are authorized.

Key Requirements

SEAs or specially qualified agencies submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education that describes: the process for awarding subgrants; how the agency will establish standards and objectives for raising the level of English proficiency that are aligned with state standards; and, how the SEA will hold districts, eligible entities, and schools accountable for meeting all annual measurable achievement objectives and making adequate yearly progress for limited English proficient children.

  • School districts must use Title III funds to provide high-quality language instruction programs that are based on scientifically based research, and that have demonstrated that they are effective in increasing English proficiency and student achievement.
  • Districts are required to provide high-quality professional development to classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and other school or community-based organizational personnel in order to improve the instruction and assessment of limited English proficient students.
  • Districts are held accountable for making adequate yearly progress as described in Title I and meeting all annual achievement objectives.

How It Achieves Quality

State education agencies and districts have the flexibility to implement language instruction programs based on scientifically based research on teaching limited English proficient children. In addition, professional development is to be informed by scientifically based research that demonstrates its effectiveness in increasing children's English proficiency or teachers' knowledge and skills, and is of sufficient intensity and duration to have a positive and lasting impact on the teachers' performance in the classroom.

How Performance Is Measured

Subgrantees submit an evaluation to the SEA every second fiscal year that describes the program, and the progress made by children in learning English, meeting state standards, and attaining English proficiency. The SEA reports to the U.S. Department of Education every second year on its programs and activities, and their effectiveness in improving the education of children who are limited English proficient. The Department reports to Congress every second year on programs serving limited English proficient children and their effectiveness in improving the academic achievement and English proficiency of children who are limited English proficient, and provides, a synthesis of state-reported data.

Key Activities For The State Education Agencies

State education agencies must:

  • Award subgrants to improve the education of limited English proficient children.
  • Approve subgrantees' evaluation measures.
  • Develop annual measurable achievement objectives for limited English proficient children.
  • Hold subgrantees accountable for meeting annual measurable achievement objectives and for making adequate yearly progress.
  • Require subgrantees failing to make appropriate adequate yearly progress to develop an improvement plan and require sanctions if subgrantees fail to meet the annual measurable achievement objectives for four consecutive years.
  • Report to the U.S. Department of Education on program activities, and on the effectiveness of the program in improving the education provided to children who are limited English proficient.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007